Almost 80% of the plastic waste generated globally ends up in landfills. As a company that manufactures and sells consumer products, a lot of what Kao supplies to the market is sold in plastic bottles. Kao, therefore, has taken significant measures to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills. Kao’s consumer division is continuously innovating to reduce the amount of plastic in our packaging, while changing consumer behavior to use refills, and collecting bottles that will be recycled into new packaging.
One of the initiatives taken by Kao is recycling the waste plastic that is collected and formulating it into a unique added value asphalt additive that enhances the performance of the asphalt pavement. This is just one of the many efforts Kao is making to recycle waste plastic.
Sustainability in road construction is not a new topic. Asphalt pavement is arguably one of the most recycled materials in the US. A high proportion of old asphalt is recycled into new roads, it is also common to recycle other waste streams into the asphalt.
Not all recycled materials enhance the performance of the roads, with some, even hurting the long-term performance. Kao’s approach has been to not only recycle waste plastic in asphalt mixtures but to do it in such a way that it enhances the roadway’s performance. One of the most common challenges facing agencies and road owners is the lack of sufficient funds to preserve and maintain their entire road network. Therefore, any technology that can prolong the need for maintenance or reduce the cost of repairs or both are critical for the industry.
Lately, the use of waste plastics in the asphalt industry is gaining traction and more people are working towards utilizing this approach to help meet their sustainability targets. However, it is important to balance the recycling aspect with durability and performance. As a result of this recent interest in the industry to recycle plastics in asphalt, the Virginia Department of Transportation is currently studying the effects of different types of plastics and their impact on asphalt mixtures. This study is being performed both in the lab as well as in the field. Kao’s NEWTLAC additive containing recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is one of the additives chosen to be evaluated in an experimental section of road which will be monitored and extensively studied over the next few years.
HMA loading onto the truck
NEWTLAC loading through the cone machine